Texas A&M's Quartney Davis Eager to Build Stock at Senior Bowl
MOBILE, Ala. - Quartney Davis will never forget November 24, 2018. Like any other member of the 12th Man Corp found in College Station, it's a night that will live in infamy.
Inside the walls of Kyle Field, Texas A&M battled LSU. Against the potential future No.1 overall selection, the Aggies offense bounced back and forth with Joe Burrow, leading to a seven-overtime shootout and leaving fans on the edge of their seat.
Davis finished the night with a team-high seven catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. In the final overtime, the then-sophomore would haul in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Mond.
The knife in the coffin. The final blow to bring Burrow out of the water. And if you Davis otherwise, it's the one game he will consider his best.
"That's the moment I'm always going to remember about my time in College Station," Davis said. "Obviously there are other games that I did good at, but the biggest moment? The moment I'm always going to remember is that game.
"Being able to compete against who most of the world said is the best defensive core in the nation and winning? It was a great opportunity to showcase what I can do."
Outside of a Saturday showdown in College Station, Davis' greatest accomplishment will be graduating this past December. The A&M wide receiver never considered during the season on what the next step was for his career. The focus was on earning that degree.
With his future secure on the education side, Davis will test his luck in the NFL. Down in Mobile, the junior is one of few underclassmen at the 2020 Senior Bowl — the first test in the NFL Draft world. An early declared player must graduate from school by December of the previous season.
Only a handful of spots are left for the underclassmen side, according to Senior Bowl Director Jim Nagy — making each spot a coveted invite.
"You really do have to save and kinda get a feel of where they're leaning throughout the fall, coming out or staying," Nagy said. "When they declare, you got to be ready."
The two-year starter for the Aggies offense, Davis was known for his versatility. Predominately used in the slot, it was the Houston native's speed that allowed him to win one-on-one battles.
Davis' sophomore season had the scouts turning on the film to see No.1's potential. During his first season under Jimbo Fisher, he'd finish with 45 catches for 585 yards and seven touchdowns. His final season would be met with mixed results, recording 54 receptions for 616 yards and four touchdowns.
The 6-foot, shy of 200-pound receiver considers his last year in College Station a learning curve for his career. Although the numbers were perhaps fluxed, Davis learned more about the game — breaking down the concepts and understand coverages and ways to win with leverage.
"I got a lot of knowledge about football," Davis said, "It wasn't about the numbers, but more about what I could learn at the position at wide receiver."
The young wideout also learned how to balance life in a busy schedule. Hoping to graduate early, Davis would take extra credit hours during his last semester to earn his degree on time. Walking across the stage, Davis had achieved a goal he set long before football became a priority in life.
The Aggies would play their final game in Davis' hometown of Houston. A 24-21 victory against the Oklahoma State Cowboys would give A&M their second 8-plus win season under Fisher — ending Davis' college career on a high note. Keeping it private, not even telling his family, the budding receiver believed it was best to further his career at the next level.
He would declare for the NFL Draft on December 31. The next day, Nagy invited him down to Mobile.
"He knew it meant a lot to me to be able to play in this game," said Davis. "I just really appreciate him and thank him for saving that spot."
Just as Davis proved to Jeff Banks, the former head of recruiting for A&M, he now wants to prove the NFL he will thrive at the next level. According to NFL.com, 99 underclassmen will hope to hear their name called by Roger Goodell or a team in Las Vegas in April.
The Senior Bowl could be a place where Davis separates himself from the pack of highly-touted receivers in what some have called the deepest class in recent memory.
"This is going to be a big week for him to show what he can do," A&M punter Braden Mann, who also is in Mobile said. "I think some people are going to be surprised by him — in a good way. I was pumped to see him down here."
Davis excelled on the first day of practice Tuesday afternoon. Consistently winning at the line of scrimmage, his speed should keep his name around the mix of mid-round targets. Teams began to line up to speak to Davis following practice, wanting to know of the man instead of the player.
Mobile will be the start of Davis' NFL career. A strong week could trend his stock in the right direction while a bad outing could have him falling down the loaded class.
For now, Davis knows his speed will take him far. He just keeps running — right into the hearts of the coaches down in the Yellowhammer State.
"There's nothing that I'm perfect at, so there's plenty I can improve on," Davis said. "Even if I'm the best at doing it, I'm gonna make sure I improve on it.
"If there's something I wasn't able to showcase in school, I best showcase here."